Jakarta: India’s ace female wrestler Vinesh Phogat created history by clinching gold medal in women’s Freestyle 50kg category here on Monday.
Vinesh tamed Japan Yuki Ire 6-2 to become first woman wrestler from India to clinch a gold in Asian Games.
“Gold was my only aim as three or four times before I had finished with silver in Asian meets. I didn’t want to return with silver again this time round,” said a jubilant Vinesh.
“I had a great opportunity again and my body was responding well. I had really worked hard and everything came together today by the grace of God I would say,” added the 23-year-old, whose victory couldn’t have been more sweeter as en route to the title, she had also beat China’s Sun Yanan (8-2), who had inflicted a career-threatening injury on her at the Rio Olympics quarter-finals.
Yanan had pinned the Indian down in an awkward position that left her knee injured. Grimacing in pain, Vinesh had to forfeit the bout and was in tears. She had to undergo a knee surgery and was out of action for several months before making a comeback.
“Yes it was a tough time mentally and also physically. However, I left it behind and you get more strong after any injury they say. I learnt a lot during that break. I take a lot of risks in life I would say. I have a lot of self-belief and so you can achieve anything if you have that,” asserts Vinesh, who is the cousin sister of Geeta Phogat, who too had created history by winning a gold at Commonwealth Games in 2010.
India’s Deepak Kumar got his act together towards the end to clinch silver in the men’s 10m rifle event at the 18th Asian Games. Clinching gold with a stunning show with an aggregate total of 249.1 was China’s defending champion Yang Haoran, who once again proved that he is in a class of his own.
In the 24-shot final, Deepak was nowhere close to being on the podium until the 18th shot. His perfect 10.9 for a total of 247.7 was enough to send Taipei’s Lu Shaochuan to third spot with 226.8.
The second silver of India was handed by Lakshya Sheoran in the men’s trap shooting. The 19-year-old aggregated 43 points out of 50 and missed just one shot in the final series.
A lot was expected from India in badminton but sadly, their campaign in the women’s team event has ended in disappointment losing to Japan.
P.V. Sindhu had provided India with a great start registering a sensational win over world No. 1 Japanese Akane Yamaguchi in the opener. She won the fierce contest in a close 21-18, 21-19 result.
Then N Sikki Reddy and Arathi Sunil went down meekly 15-21 6-21 to Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota and the scores were tied 1-1.
The onus was on the shoulders of the experienced Saina Nehwal to put India back in the lead but her opponent Nozomi Okuhara simply proved too good in the crucial decider.
Nehwal did make a sensational comeback and saved four match points in the second game but Okuhara was too hot to handle in the deciding third game and eventually won the contest 21-11, 23-25, 21-16 in an hour and 11 minutes. In the must-win fourth match, Sindhu and Ashwini Ponappa lost to Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi in straight game 13-21, 12-21.
“I provided the start what was needed but the Japanese were too good in the end. Saina played very well but her opponent Okuhara played exceptionally well,” said Sindhu.
Meanwhile, defending champions Indian men’s kabaddi team suffered a shocking defeat at the hands of South Korea in their third group clash. Indian team, led by Ajay Thakur, lost the absorbing contest 24-23.
This is India’s first ever defeat in the history of the Asian Games. India had earlier defeated Bangladesh and Sri Lanka comfortably in their first two games.